Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray launched a multi-layered attack on the opposition BJP in the state assembly on Tuesday, which held a special session for two days. Shiv Sena’s leader, who had raised several sensitive issues including the Maratha quota issue, peppered his speech with stabbing attacks – most of all his reaction to the BJP’s recent jibes that he – a right wing leader – has become secular. The congressional NCP ally announced when announcing a fund for the preservation of ancient temples: “This will make you (opposition) understand that we have not given up Hindutva.”
Mr Thackeray said the state government would begin restoring and preserving ancient temples to “promote ancient culture and traditions.” He said the project will be progressive and sought opposition cooperation in identifying temples for conservation.
In October, a heated exchange broke out between Mr Thackeray and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari over the reopening of places of worship that had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. After the governor asked in a sarcasm-filled letter whether he had “become secular”, Uddhav Thackeray shot back that he did not need a Hindutva certificate from anyone.
Mr Thackeray also responded today to opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis’ indictment of “undeclared emergencies” for police action to prevent Maratha quota activists from entering Mumbai. Referring to the recent enforcement agency action against Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, he said, “It is political perversity to ask the ED to prosecute those who violate privileges against your favorite people.”
Mr Sarnaik filed the violation of privileges against TV journalist Arnab Goswami and actress Kangana Ranaut in the office of the Speaker of Parliament in September.
“Pratap (Sarnaik) was called by the ED. His sons were called by the ED. His grandchild was not born yet, or they would have been called by the ED too. You may have said so, once the grandchild is born, bring you the child in front of us, “said Mr. Thackeray.
Mr Thackeray also attacked Mr Fadnavis and other BJP heads of state, saying they should be in Delhi to fight farmers’ protests.
Commenting on the BJP’s attack on his government’s Covid response, Thackeray said: “The WHO, Washington Post, has praised the work of the Maharashtra government in containing the pandemic in Dharavi. It is sad that you (BJP) cannot see this . “
Mr Thackeray assured the gathering that the existing OBC quota will remain intact and attempts to create a social divide by spreading rumors about the inclusion of marathas in the reservation category will not be tolerated.
“The litigation to (restore) the maratha quota is in its final stages. We haven’t changed the legal team or our position on the maratha quota. We will win the litigation,” he said.